• Ayesha Dhurue

The Collected Schizophrenias by Esme Weijun Wang

The Collected Schizophrenias is about Wang’s own muddled and complex diagnosis. Her words cut across what you thought you knew and didn’t know about this mental illness, and so many others. She wants you to tug at the core of schizophrenia - this incisive dissociation of the real world. Wang writes,

“For those of us living with severe mental illness, the world is full of cages where we can be locked in.”

This book is not only for those who have, in some way, been affected by a mental illness: somebody you are or somebody you know. To read about one’s personal experiences of various shifts in perception and not have it written down by some professional as in the books written by Oliver Sacks, is phenomenal. It feels intimate and thought-provoking. Her language and structure are unique. One can read about the illness, but one is so often left in the dark about the people it unnerves. This book is willing to let everyone in, to see the world a great deal more acutely and less “statistically” than before. It’s a memoir that is meant to be read once, and again, and again. To make sense of your own experiences and understand why the standards of what’s normal and what’s not can never be laid down to judge. Because Wang tells us that, “my thinking, is how I am meant to live it.”